Sunday, November 29, 2009

Back to Words

Do words slow down the mind? Thinking Shhhhhh shhhhhhhhhhhhhh shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh & keeping words out of your head might seem like a pointless exercise, but it is interesting to see how hard it is. Please try this - look at the following gap for a minimum of one minute and see if you can stop any words from passing through your head while you do it.































go on do it - set the alarm now and do it - don't just scroll down to the next bit

































For you impatient ones - your loss, shame on you, you're as bad as thierry, but it's only yourself you're cheating, for those who tried it, how did ye get on? Dorothea Brande believed being able to empty your head of words like that is the key to allowing your subconscious break through with more creative and clever ideas than your conscious mind would ever be capable of. This was her big secret of success for writers in her excellent book, Becoming a Writer, and it explains the phenomenon of how some of the best thinking is done without words, how an idea for a brilliant story surfaces after a night's sleep or a long period of non-thinking - ie some writer's swear by scrubbing floors, or organising files, some kind of thoughtless exercise which puts them into a trance-like state - this can then lead to better thinking at a deeper level. And where are we without this? We can't physically go one whole 24 hours without sleep (and thus allowing the subconscious a decent gap in our chattery wordy thoughts to do it's work) without noticing a huge impact on our own well being. (Longer periods of sleeplessness can even lead to psychosis, in one extreme example New York radio DJ Peter Tripp went 201 hours without sleep and suffered serious delusions and eventually a total personality change as a consequence. - but the function of sleep is perhaps a subject for another time)
So maybe let your subconscious do its job from time to time, get your mind away from the world of words, see what difference it makes to the way you think, feel or write...

9 comments:

Totalfeckineejit said...

I flatlined through the first minute,tumbleweed and cobwebs blew across my blank wordless screen of consciousness. I fell asleep during the second minute and woke up 2 hours later. Thank you.

Niamh B said...

Glad to have been of service.

Titus said...

Niamh! You're doing my head in with this!
No words = images, feelings, but I'm not sure that equates to thinking. Does it? God, I'm confused. Must apply some words to this matter, or maybe sleep on it...

swiss said...

a favour? you've got access to a finnish speaker i believe? i need some finnish translated for some old woman t has met. it could be tricky but we'll pay you in fine alcohol!

Niamh B said...

Titus - tis hard to know, maybe it's knowing rather than thinking is the thing you do without words then, you wake up knowing the answer, or knowing a good idea that you only need put into words afterwards...
Swiss - "access to" may be stretching the truth slightly, but I have made contact alright, how much of a piece of translation is involved? I can certainly ask, I'll ask strangers for anything in aid of fine alcohol!!

swiss said...

it's a bit of a complicated one. one of t's textile women has got herself a loom with the instructions only in finnish. so quite a technical translation.

i think t's going to stick out a request on the international felt makers board so we'll see how she gets on

Niamh B said...

http://www.fincd.com/

Ok - well there's always the online dictionary, but come back if you're stuck and I'll ask Huhtikuunoita for you, no bother.

Jessica said...

So does this mean that I can not write my blog too and other people will think it's brilliant?

That would be quite a timesaver, actually.

Niamh B said...

Hmm on a photo blog I'm not so sure it'll work quite so well. I mean, try it, by all means, as you say - it is significantly easier than actually putting stuff up.